grief and birthdays

Happy Birthday to My Love

On this special day, I miss
Giving you your birthday kiss
And helping you enjoy your day
By celebrating some fun way

A movie? Dinner? Restaurant?
You’d ask, and I’d do what you want
Then rush around to find your gift
Some tech toy would give you a lift

And you were pleased so easily
Whatever gift you got from me
I loved to see your smile grow wide
When tossing the “gift wrap” aside

(Okay, I used a pillow case!)
But that put a grin on your face
And afterwards, we’d go outside
And spend our evening side by side

We’d sit outside under the stars
Out on the deck, we’d chat for hours
You’d tell your future dreams to me
What you would like your life to be

Now death has stolen you from me
And all those dreams, you’ll never see
I long to share another year
To see you, touch you, have you here

Your birthdays now are in the past
The memories will have to last
My love, you won’t grow old with me
You’ll stay forever sixty-three

I look at photos from past years
And have no way to stop my tears
We were so happy, you and I
I miss you so much my Big Guy

So Rick, on this your special day
I hope your spirit hears me say
My love for you will never end
And all my love to you I send

About the author

Katherine Billings Palmer is a technical writer, poet, and essayist from Garden City, Michigan. She’s won several academic writing awards, including first place in the University of Michigan Dearborn Critical Essay Contest for her work about poet John Donne: “‘The Sun Rising’: A Lover’s Boast.”

In 2017, Katherine’s husband, Rick, died of complications from small cell lung cancer. She wrote a series of poems and essays about her struggles to cope with her grief. I Wanted to Grow Old With You is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

Her latest book, A Widow’s Words: Grief, Reflection, Prose, and Poetry – The First Year was published in January 2019 and is also available on

Katherine is a guest blogger for the Hope for Widows Foundation and writes about her grief journey at

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